Should I Complete my College Application Online?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 December 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Applicants who are applying to colleges which offer an online application option should definitely consider completing a college application online. There are a number of advantages to using such services, not least of which is that some colleges are turning away from paper applications altogether, which means that students should get used to completing forms online. Colleges with online application services also usually have Internet-based student services which students should get comfortable with, as they will need to log on to register for classes, address housing issues, and deal with many other topics which come up in college, from booking appointments at the student health center to networking with other students.

One of the biggest advantages to doing a college application online is that many colleges are involved in cooperative agreements which allow students to fill out a single basic application for several schools, and file additional supplements as required by each school. This can save a lot of time. For example, most state schools allow students to file a single application which will be sent to multiple schools. Schools which allow for the submission of a common college application online will usually mention this in their informational pages about the application process.


Online applications also tend to be easier for admissions offices to manage, which means that students can get updates about missing information and necessary supplements more quickly. Many colleges have a dashboard for managing online applications, which allows students to complete application materials in stages, and to log in at any time to check on the status of the application. If materials need to be mailed in, data about whether or not these materials were received will also be posted on the dashboard, which can ease the minds of students who are nervous about their applications.

Filling out a college application online is also good for the environment, in addition to being easier and faster to working with a paper application. While the few sheets of paper which make up a single application may not seem like much, it can really start to add up with thousands of applications, especially since admissions office generate a great deal of paperwork in the reviewing process.

When colleges make it possible to apply online, they often provide online resources for people who are asked to write letters of recommendation. This can increase the possibility that such letters are written and submitted in a timely fashion, because the recommender just needs to log on with a user name and password supplied by the college, and submit the letter like an e-mail. These systems also allow students to send polite e-mail reminders to recommenders, and to check on whether or not the letters have been submitted.

Colleges will not give preference to a student who fills out a college application online, and there is no disadvantage to sending in a paper application. However, paper applications are more likely to be lost in the mail or in the admissions office, in contrast with digital applications, which are stored on a server. Most applications are also encrypted to protect sensitive or personal data.



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